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'Send me to prison over dog mess fine' says Roger Hobkinson, former cop from Newquay

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 15, 2013

'Send me to prison over dog mess fine' says Roger Hobkinson, former cop from Newquay

Comments (36)

A FORMER policeman from Newquay is refusing to pay a £754 fine for dog-fouling, saying: "They can send me to prison if they want."

Roger Hobkinson, 72, claims he is being victimised by Cornwall Council's dog wardens, saying they lie in wait for him with binoculars at the Gannel estuary where he walks Dalmatian Henry.

The pensioner has been fined four times since 2010, costing him £1,656, including a £100 penalty and £654 in legal costs imposed by magistrates on Friday.

He told the Cornish Guardian he always picked up after Henry when he saw him do his business, but eagle-eyed wardens often spotted doggy toilet trips when his back was turned.

"How can I watch him every second? It's ridiculous," he said.

"I'll pay the £100 fine but I'm not going to pay those costs. They can put me in prison if they want; I'll get to watch Sky telly all day.

"I've had enough of them now. It's an absolute disgrace the way I'm being victimised here.

"I'm a responsible dog-walker – I used to be a copper and I volunteer with the National Trust as a litter-picker, for heaven's sake."

Mr Hobkinson, of Clifden Close, said he walked Henry as a favour to his owner, Jackie Ward, who was left disabled after contracting a virus three years ago.

He generally let Henry off his lead on the marshy area of the Gannel known as the Saltings, hitting a golf ball for the dog to retrieve.

Mr Hobkinson argued it was impossible to pick up dog mess on areas of the Saltings as it was so overgrown and boggy, and the tide would always come in to wash it away in any case.

"It's a personal vendetta," he said. "They wait for me with their binoculars.

"They know the dog so every time I go down there and the dog does a poo that I don't see, I'm going to get done. The dog warden has never once asked me to show him that I've got dog bags, and I always carry them with me. If I see the dog do a poo I clean it up."

Truro Magistrates' Court heard last week that a dog warden had observed Mr Hobkinson hitting a golf ball across the Saltings on May 22 this year.

Cornwall Council lawyer Karen Tambling said: "The Dalmatian ran to the vicinity of the golf ball, squatted and fouled on the ground.

"At no time did he [Mr Hobkinson] pay any attention to the Dalmatian or attempt to pick up the faeces.

"It's clear that the defendant has a total disregard for the health and wellbeing of the general public," she said.

Mr Hobkinson, who did not attend Friday's hearing but had pleaded guilty, was given 28 days to pay the full amount of £754.45.

]The council's public health and protection team welcomed Mr Hobkinson's prosecution, saying it sent a "clear message" to irresponsible dog-owners.

Allan Hampshire, head of the department, said: "I'm pleased the magistrates have handed out such a high-level fine.

"The issue of dog fouling and irresponsible dog-ownership blights many residents of Cornwall. This sends a clear message to the small minority of irresponsible dog-owners that if you don't clear up after your dog, the courts will fine you.

"Our Public Health and Protection service is the only local authority department in the country approved by Defra to provide training to other officers, internal and external, to issue fixed penalty notices for dog-fouling and littering. We've trained officers from quite a few local town and parish councils in Cornwall. We're also training employees of our waste contractor Cory to undertake a similar role, as well as PCSOs and police officers. All this work increases the number of people in our communities who are able to address these antisocial behaviour issues, but what we really want is for dog-owners themselves to be responsible for their pets and their actions.

"For action to be taken it's important that the offence is witnessed. Signed witness statements from individual members of the public can be used by officers for the purpose of issuing fixed-penalty notices. We welcome help and support from the general public to identify offenders and to assist us in improving local communities."

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  • RaTrail  |  February 21 2014, 3:33PM

    Cornwall council dog wardens are [graciousl] over zealous or in reality greedy & dishonest. They accused me of failing to pick up dog's mess when my dog had only weed. Its not the dog's mess that stinks, its the council bonus payments to dog wardens.

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 08 2014, 11:26PM

    Whilst on the subject of seaside sewage, these days they have fine screening plants so that solid matter is not discharged into the sea. What they fail to tell us is that they also have liquidisers that turn the solid faeces into a foul smelling soup. Judging by the smells it would appear that these machines are operated at night when most people are in bed. Longer sewage outfall pipes are used nowadays but the fact of the matter is that very large amounts of sewage are still being dumped into the sea. In comparison to this a dog poo is a drop in the ocean.

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 08 2014, 10:59PM

    Plenty of red arrows coming down! Most of the commentators must be Jobsworths themselves! As to the Instow Jobsworth that I mentioned earlier. If I had been there myself I would have taken his name and done my damnedest to get him his P45. As to dog mess nobody likes it I agree but in a place that gets flushed by the sea what is the problem?

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  • pilgrimboz  |  February 08 2014, 5:44PM

    @ davey as you seem to love dog **** so much why don't you provide your address so all those lazy slobs can let their little doggies turn your property into a filthy sewer and then the civilised world can walk about without having to dodge vile muck every other step! or perhaps you could go around with a scoop and collect it from our parks and beauty spots as it doesn't seem to offend you.

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 08 2014, 4:21PM

    If it was me in the frame I would print out the Dogs Fouling Of Land Act and take the case to Crown Court. It might be cheaper than paying the £1656 and it would be nice to see the council officials laughing on the other side of their faces. "Nil illegitimus carborundum" seems to apply here!

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 08 2014, 4:00PM

    As Cornwall Council does not seem able to keep the public toilets open "because of financial considerations" how is it that they can still afford to employ snoopers? IMHO these Jobsworths need to be sacked. I don't know whether the Instow Jobsworth is still employed but several years ago I lent an inflatable dinghy to a blue-water sailor who has sailed as far as the Antipodes. The sailor wanted to try out a small outboard motor that he had recently purchased at a Boat Jumble. Before the dinghy was even out of the car a Jobsworth appeared and said "No launching boats without a permit from the Council." Allegedly there was an hour long argument as "Captain Bligh" is not to be trifled with! The Jobsworth then said that he was going to call the Police. Later I checked Torridge Council's website and discovered the following "BOATS WHICH CAN BE CARRIED BY ONE PERSON ARE EXEMPT" This means that the Jobsworth was well out of order and deserves to be sacked. Incidentally where does one get this "permit from the council" on a Sunday afternoon? This country employs far too many Jobsworths and if I ruled the world they would all be put out to grass. Allegedly the UK is the country with the greatest amount of CCTV in the world. It is highly probable that the UK also has the greatest number of Jobsworths in the world. Who needs them?

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 08 2014, 4:00PM

    In reply to Gertx. If the dog poos in the brambles what is the problem? IMHO the real problem is people who bag the poo then throw the bag into other people's gardens.

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  • pilgrimboz  |  January 19 2014, 11:53AM

    Former cop,current selfish pig. Send him to prison? No just rub HIS nose in it along with every other selfish,disgusting slob who thinks our every beauty spot should be knee deep in their little doggies vile **** In fact it's time we just banned dogs from our areas of beauty altogether as I'm afraid dog owners have proved time and time again they are not responsible enough to be allowed on them and have turned these spots into open sewers.

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  • twofeetofsnow  |  December 23 2013, 10:44PM

    It's curious how these dog wardens can sit and watch that area, especially when my village's roads are regularly fouled by dogs and nothing is ever done. A dog mess bin was put up on a post but it was moved the very next day after a local councillor complained that she could see it from her kitchen window. Nobody polices these saviours of our society, perhaps that is why they have so much time to enjoy the views instead of doing their jobs.

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  • Newquaygreen  |  November 23 2013, 12:05PM

    Speaking as someone who actually walks my dog in this same area I tend to agree that the marsh area of the Gannel is not an area where you should need to pick up. Mosyt of it is not walkable anyway. On the main walking area then it is different. Cornwall Council is not appllying common sense here. They should turn their attention areas where it is an issue such as the Boating lake and Porth beach.

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